* You are viewing the archive for the ‘Matthew Francis’ Category

Matthew Francis, Wing – review

Two loves dominate Matthew Francis’s Wing: nature, and the English language. There’s very little self-reference: when Francis writes in the first person it tends to be in terms of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ except in the second section, where the speaker is the seventeenth century natural philosopher Robert Hooke, author of Micrographia: or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses.

In earlier books Francis has recreated lives in or journeys to places that can be purely fantastical or are so exotic as to seem fantastical to a traveller visiting them. The ‘Micrographia’ section brings strangeness home with the … Continue Reading

Review – Matthew Francis, The Mabinogi

Matthew Francis, The Mabinogi, 112 pp, £14.99, Faber & Faber Ltd

A woman who rides slowly but can’t be caught by the fastest galloping horseman; a cauldron that simmers dead warriors to life; a giant king who wades through the sea to make war on Ireland, and whose severed head is buried alive to watch over Britain when his body is killed by a poisonous wound; all the buildings, people and animals of a country stolen in a magic fog; the threat to hang a mouse who’s really the pregnant wife of a powerful magician on a gallows made of two … Continue Reading

Matthew Francis, Muscovy, 80 pp, £12.99 hardback, Faber and Faber

I loved Muscovy for its variety, and for a playfulness of spirit that has its own gravity. In the first poem, based on a seventeenth century tale describing a flight to the moon, the narrator tells us

The moon rested on the mountain, rock on rock –
you might step from one to the other

and indeed he does fly to the moon in an elaborate contraption drawn by geese. Revelling in the exotic and the fantastical, Francis leads us easily from world to world and time to time. In “Things That Make the Heart Beat Faster”, based on The Pillow … Continue Reading